Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hints of Autumn

It always amazes me how the seasons in England just suddenly arrive! In South Africa it's all very gradual, sometimes it seems you simply jump from summer into winter - at least that's how it works in the Cape where we are from. 

But here you notice each little change and it's always right on time. About a week ago I began to notice a little hint of yellow here and there.

The trees that line our street are yellowing by the day.

7 days later and the yellow's have deepened and it is evident that autumn is on her way - right on time too. Monday marks the beginning of meteorological autumn, the autumnal equinox comes later on in the month, this year it falls on September 23rd. But for me, autumn has began. I see little hints just about everywhere.

Some leaves are already fluttering to the ground.
I think what makes it feel even more autumnal is the gathering of blackberry's and apples. I have been keeping an eye out for blackberry's in the park nearby, but I think everyone else has the same idea because the only berry's we found were way at the back of the bramble, and the brambles have some fierce thorns. My darling husband mentioned that he had seen some lovely fat juicy berry's in the church yard when we dropped the girls off for bell ringing, so on Saturday we armed ourselves with plastic containers and long sleeves and headed off to relieve those brambles of their fruit :)

I was like a kid in the candy store! So many berry's, so many brambles - where to start! 

On Monday we visited a friend who's apple tree is heavy with fruit, I commissioned DH to pick a few as I have processed all mine into apple crumbles and sauces already. These apples will go perfectly with the blackberry's and make a delicious jam!

And so today...

...was spent making Bramble Apple Jam :)

It's dead easy, here's my recipe:

500 g Blackberries
500 g Apples - Chopped
100 ml water
1 kg jamming sugar
15 ml lemon juice

Put the fruit, lemon juice and water in a heave based pot and simmer until the fruit is soft. Add the sugar and melt slowly. Boil for 10 minutes and test for setting point. Boil for an extra 5 minutes if setting point has not been reached, Pour into sterilised jars and label :)

I also made a batch of rusks. These are a South Africanism. They are hard, crunchy biscuits that are wonderful for dunking in your coffee. You cannot buy them here in England unless you pay exorbitant prices at one of the South African food stores. I prefer to just make my own - I don't do it often as they require plenty of hours drying time in the oven and they are usually gone within a few days of making them! 

They are a much loved food in my home and needless to say my family think I rock this week lol. 

Anyhoo - this is turning into a bit of a rambling post so I'll wrap it up now. I'll be back soon to show you a little stitching that I've been doing and enjoying during this past week.

So until then...


  1. All your photos are lovely! Here in southern Canada we're seeing the first signs of autumn too. We have neighbours down the road who have invited us to freely pick the apples from their trees - I plan to make lots of applesauce, a few pies, and crumbles for sure. It's delightful to have a free source of apples since our own young trees were killed by voles this past winter, and the apples in the store are so expensive!

    Your jam looks delicious - I have a question though - what is jamming sugar? And also, I wonder if you'd ever like to share your recipe for rusks? They look delicious too.

    1. Hi Laura, I will publish the recipe for you in a post soon :) and jamming sugar is basically sugar with added pectin that we get here in England. If you cannot get it in the States I wouldn't worry too much about it, you could use ordinary sugar but use granny smith apples which have a higher pectin content or you could buy pectin and add as directed.

  2. Gilly, I had to laugh at your comment when it dropped into my email box - I hadn't made all the connections to picking berries in the graveyard and the recipe being DEAD easy lol. Well spotted. For some reason your comment wouldn't publish, but I wanted you to know that you made me smile :)

  3. What a great recipe for the jam it looks delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Love the leaves turning and you do live in a beautiful corner of the world :)


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